Sunday, June 28, 2015

Last Championship of the Spring Season this evening

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 28, 2015


The Fitzgerald’s 1928 5K Lager Run in Glen Ridge has been mightily popular since its inception in 2006.  In 2010 the masters men’s 5K championship was down the Shore early in the morning.  Rumor had it that the Lager Run was going to bid on the championship for 2011.  Several runners made the long trip to Glen Ridge from Pine Beach to “preview” the race.  Not just watch but enter, running a double header on a very hot day.

The next year it did indeed bid and was selected as the masters men championship and has been hosting that group ever since.  This year the masters men have another race down the Shore and the Lager Run is now the masters women’s race.  Will there be a change in participants or will the same crowd come back?  We’ll know later this evening.

In 2014 1,034 runners finished the race with 36 year old Atilla Sabahoglu of Piscataway winning in 15:49.  Second went to a 19 year old and after that it was all masters men in the top ten.   Clearly it was a masters men’s race.

Jen Found of Hopewell was the first masters woman in 2014 and Misa Tamura of Ridgewood was second in 18:54.  Neither woman is listed in the pre-registered list that was posted on Friday.  I was told that Tamura is not running.

Masters women’s teams include the Morris County Strider’s W80 team.  The team actually consists of five women but only three will be running today.

The Garmin racers W50 team has won both of the previous championship races – the Miles for Music and the Clinton Country Run.  Garmin won the W40 at Miles for Music but took second at the Clinton Race.  With only those two races that included masters women, it is too early to see a pattern although the Garmin racers are clearly favorites to take their two divisions. 

Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. at Hurrell Field at 865 Bloomfield Avenue and the race will start at 6:15 p.m.   Here is a very obvious hint.  Arrive early.  All parking is on the neighboring streets. 


The Sunset Classic five miler moved from Thursday to this past Monday and it looks like not everybody got the news.  The race was down from 611finishers in 2014 to 408 this year.  If Ronny Robinson of Hackensack had not shown up to finish in 29:31, we would have had another race with a woman winning overall.  Roberta Groner of Randolph finished next just six seconds back in 29:37.

 The Morris County Striders first race of the series saw Robert Skorupski of Rockaway winning the race in 18:47.  Twelve year old Amanda Houston of Randolph was the first female finishers in 20:43.  The next race in the series will be on July 7th.


Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Price Wins President's Cup, Rochdi Second

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 21, 2015


Monday night presented some challenges for runners trying to reach Millburn for the President’s Cup Night Race 5K.  Showers off and on all day began to move away but it seemed like every major highway had traffic stalled because of the bad weather.  Having the police close the roads of the course at 7:15 did not help the already frazzled runners who had to park a good distance away and then hustle to the race location at Charlie Brown’s.

Although the race was the open men’s championship there were plenty of masters men and women and fast open women as well.  But the focus was on the young open men and they promised a great fight for first place.

When the starting gun was fired seven or eight men immediately took to the lead in a fast moving pack.  Clearly it was going to be a tight race.  Passing a spectator check point just over a mile into the race, the pack was still tightly packed with Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway appearing to be in the lead with Kyle Price of North Brunswick close by with Justin Scheid of Sparta and Stephen Mennitt of Edison forming the leading arrow in the pack.

At that point the racers head out to the Millburn High School for the quick turnaround in the school’s front driveway.  When the racers reappeared on Millburn Avenue two of the four had separated from the others.  Rochdi and Price were running side-by-side as they headed up Millburn about two and a half miles into the race.  The spectators on Essex Avenue eagerly began straining to see who would be the first coming down the hill to the finish line.  It was the easily recognizable Price with his spiked Mohawk who came flying toward them and the finish line.  The winner of the duel would be Price who finished in 14:49.   Price had pulled away from Rochdi at the top of the hill and he fell ten seconds back to finish in 14:59, with 2010 winner Scheid third in 15:03.  Stephen Mennitt of Edison was fourth in 15:07 and Chris Heibell of Hillsborough rounded out the top five with his 15:23.

Alyssa Douma of Millburn was the women’s winner in what may have been a personal record time of 18:06.Second place was Erika Meling of North Brunswick in 18:49.  The top Morris area woman was fifty year old Mary Christian of Flanders who finished tenth in 20:05.

As has become commonplace now in open competition the Adidas Garden State Track Club dominated.  Price was on the B team that finished first and Rochdi was on the A team that was second.  The D team finished in third place.  Sandwiched in between the C team that finished fifth was the Pearl Izumi Mid-Atlantic team that benefitted with having Scheid leading the team in, followed by Elliott Frieder of Montville in 16:20 and Jonathan Frieder of Hartsdale NY in 16:25.  Last scoring man on the team was Rich Burke of Morristown in 16:56. 

The Morristown based Garmin team finished in sixth place with Mike Soroko of Kinnelon first to score in 16:03.

Next up and finishing up the championship spring season is the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5K next Sunday evening in Glen Ridge.  For the first time since it has been a championship it is hosting the Masters Women. 


Tradition has the Sunset Classic five mile race on a Thursday in June.  But don’t miss it, the Bloomfield race is tomorrow night, Monday June 22nd.  It’s not a bad move.  Beginning with the Roxbury Community Benefit 5K each Monday night in June had a race.  Two of those races have dropped out, leaving just the Roxbury race and the President’s Cup race.  Putting the Sunset Classic in one of those slots is a smart move.  The race will start at 7:30 p.m. on Broad Street with the finish on the track in Foley Field.

Another slight change in the calendar is the earlier date for the first race of the Morris County Strider’s summer series cross country races.  The first is this Tuesday night, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at Johanson Field in Boonton.  The series will have two races in July, the 7th and the 21st and one on August 4th.


Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 14, 2015


Everybody’s favorite race is tomorrow night, Monday, June 15th.   How could it not be a favorite?  A fast course for one reason.  It’s a course that double’s back so that you can check on the progress of those who are ahead of you and those who are chasing you.

Yes, it has those two hills – well one hill you climb twice, but that is made up when you race down the same hill, one street over.  Still with that hill it should not be such a fast course.  My guess has always been that it is the combined adrenaline of all those eager racers.  Most point their training for this one race.

Chris Johnson of New Providence won the race in 2014 and joined the ranks of the sub-15 minuters with his time of 14:50.  The fastest time since I began tracking is Gene Mitchell’s 14:34 that he ran in 2003.

The Adidas Garden State Track Club has dominated the open men’s team division.  Last year the club captured the first four places with Team Pearl Izumi in fifth and Garmin Racers in sixth.

All the men should be in top shape after having competed at the College Avenue Mile in New Brunswick last Saturday.  The race was won by Joshua Neyhart of Port Reading in 4:21.76.  In 2014 Neyhart placed second in 4:21.75 – now that’s consistent.

The top local man was Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway who finished in a virtual tie for third place with Kyle Price of New Brunswick.  Both men are credited with 4:28, but Price‘s fraction was quicker - 4:28.32, while Rochdi was 4:28.54.

In the women’s race Randolph runner Roberta Groner, 37, placed second to 27 year-old Ester Erb of Lawrenceville.  Erb finished in 5:02.74 while Groner’s time was 5:06.79. 

The host club, Adidas Garden State Track Club took the top seven spots in the open men’s team competition.  The first non-Adidas Garden State Track Club team was Morris area’s Do Run Runners.  That club placed third in the M40, while the Garmin Racing team was first.  The Randolph area Geezers placed fifth in the M50 and sixth in the M40 division.

On the women’s side the host club took the top four spots.  The Do Run team placed eighth.  Top local masters runners included Reno Stirrat of Rockaway who won the M60 in 5:28.16 and Beau Atwater of Bernardsville, who finished in 5:17.84 to win the M55 division.

I often run on the West Morris Greenway – a stretch of road that serves the Alamatong Watershed managed by the Morris County Municipal Authority.  It has seen a huge increase of trail users since the ribbon cutting ceremony on National Trail Days in June of 2012; mothers with strollers, folks with dogs, runners, cyclists and everything in between.

That is why my encounter with a bear Friday morning concerns me.  I am not afraid of bears, and I have encountered them several times.  Two years ago a sow with two small cubs were on the trail and I chased them off into the woods.  That may sound strange but bears are generally timid and will move away from people once they see them and hear them, or in my case, are scolded by them. 

“Get off the trail,” I called loudly to her.  “You know you are not supposed to be on the trail!”

A couple of sharp claps of my hands and she and the cubs went into the woods.

Friday was different.  In nearly the same spot, a young bear was standing on his hind legs scratching his back on a utility pole.  He dropped to all fours and then back up for another scratching session.  By that time I was closer and I shouted to him to leave and clapped my hands.  But he took no notice of me and started to walk toward me – not in a menacing way, but in an “I don’t care about you” way.

Hmmm,  were we going to just pass each other on the trail, maybe smile and give a little wave of the hand like we runners do? 

Well, that wouldn’t do.  I thought of all the other trail users – mothers with babies in strollers, folks who would be frightened by this casual young bear.  He needed to learn to stay off the trail.

I clapped again – loud and sharp – crack, crack, crack.  At first my ruckus had no effect, but finally he crossed in front of me, and I swear, gave me a dirty look like a rebellious teenager, and went into the woods. 

My hope is that his encounter with big, bad me will keep him in the woods. 


Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Show Must go on, and Races too

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 7, 2015



Rain or shine.   That’s the catch phrase that applies to races.  After the miserable Sunday rain this past weekend, and still raining Monday morning, the question was being asked, “Will you still hold the race?”

“Rain or shine,” was the answer that Jim Schulz, the race director of the Roxbury Community Benefit 5K gave.  After all, the t-shirts were ready to be distributed, the ice cream from Cliff’s of Ledgewood was ordered, Pizza was ordered, and the cases of water were in the truck.  It is not just those things that make it a rain or shine event.  Police and local rescue squads are scheduled for the event.  Volunteers are lined up to help.

It really has to go on.  By 5:00 p.m. although the skies weren’t sunny, they also weren’t dropping rain either and the race did indeed go on – no rain and no shine.  All post race activities did take place in the Eisenhower Middle School gymnasium as a precaution and that worked out well.

Yousef Rochdi of Rockaway returned to defend his title after having won the race in 2014 in course record time of 15:40.  On Monday he was content to settle in to a 5:03 pace for the win.  Second place was won by Zachary Matthiesen of Flanders in 16:25, while third place went to Tim Burns of Randolph in 17:06.

Fourth place was taken by Roberta Groner of Randolph who finished in 17:11.  Groner was featured here earlier this year after winning the Miles for Music 20K in 1:16:03.  She finished the Boston Marathon in April in 2:50:48 and was the first New Jersey woman to finish.  At the Ridgewood 10K her winning time was 35:53.  Groner’s time at the 10K and the Roxbury race is indicative of a good recovery from the marathon and that she is ready for the 2015 competitive season. 

How fast can she run?  The President’s Cup Night race is coming up in just eight days and that course is notoriously fast.  Later in the month is the Lager Run in Glen Ridge, another fast race. 


Another Randolph woman had a good race a couple of weeks ago.  Elaine Acosta, 40, didn’t run in the Roxbury race this year.  She finished it in 23:40 back in 2013 but this year she may have been a bit tired after running in the Mayapple 50K at South Mountain Reservation on May 30th.  Acosta who loves running ultras finished in second place in six hours and 24 minutes.  The race was won in 5:02 by Nohuyori Takeda, whose town is   not listed.  Twenty people finished the race while five did not finish and nine did not start. 

You think that is bad?   Ha!   Seven people started in the Mayapple 100K and just one finished.  Ryan Thorpe finished the race in 13 hours and forty-four minutes.  Humid weather may be to blame.

There was a better percentage of finishers in the 50K with twenty finishers, 9 DNS and only five did not finish.  The 20 miler had 29 finishers and was won in 3:05.  The ten miler was won in 1:27 and had 50 finishers.  Since the races are run on the same set of trails, the woods were actually alive with runners for the early part of the day.


For those who love night races, the Flag Day 5K is Thursday, June 11, at the VA campus in Lyons.  In 2014 the race was won in 18:15 by Kathleen Castles of New Providence.  Castles has not been racing a lot lately but expect her back for this one.


Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at